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459 Fitzgerald Street
North Perth, WA, 6006
Australia

Davo, His Brother Robbo, Their Bikes and the Cops

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

Davo, His Brother Robbo, Their Bikes and the Cops

Andrew Ryan

Davo is a Queenslander. He lives in a bloody Queenslander, too. He always has been that and he always has done that, for the whole of his 25 years. Born and bred Queensland, with family ties that go all the way back to Ancient Australia, though most of his ancestry is made up of convicted British criminals, which is fairly axiomatic of the white folk in his town, he ain’t alone in this history, though times are a-changing in Australia, and so are its people.

Davo rides a motorbike. Davo’s brothers all ride motorbikes, his cousins and his father and his uncles and their mates, they get on their bikes and rumble down any road they feel like rumbling down, because when they get on their bikes, the sound of the engine and the wind makes them feel powerful, and nothing else matters except keeping the bike straight and fast, their freedom is the bend in the road up ahead and the ability to decide for themselves the angle of the next turn. People who ride big chunky bikes do not like being told what to do.

Some of Davo’s family and friends belong to a club. Davo isn’t a member of any clubs, he feels as if he doesn’t need it. Each to their own, he thinks. Some of his family and friends who belong to this club do some dodgy things some times. Davo doesn’t agree with it, necessarily, especially the parts where people can get hurt, though it doesn’t appear to be often. He doesn’t get told much anyway.

But some of the things he overhears, he is okay with, because it’s kind of like a Robin Hood thing, in his eyes, and that’s okay, in his eyes. Who else is going to look after us? The fucking pollies are disconnected from your average bloke, that’s for sure, they don’t know what’s going on, they haven’t sat on a bike and felt the concrete whooshing under their feet, haven’t lived a bloody day in their lives, all holed up in bloody Canberra with their suits and their media lackeys. Idiots. Small minded idiots, the lot of ‘em.

The cops certainly don’t get it. You can’t trust cops, they’re the evil ones, the ones the media should vilify, not the motorcycle clubs, and it breaks Davo’s young heart sometimes. You can’t trust a man who rides a bike under the control of someone else. The cops can be such pricks. The cops picked up Davo’s brother Robbo for graffiti and assault a while back, and something about his brother’s treatment, something about the attitude taken by the local cops since then, doesn’t sit right with Davo. Or Robbo. Or any of their friends and family who know about it, for that matter.

Robbo’ s story:
Did some graffiti one night, a nice big colourful piece in a run down area near the city. A guy came out of his house nearby- big fella, a bit older, built like a fucking rugby player- and confronted Robbo, “What are you doing?! Grafitti??” like some scared little kid, he was ready to dob. Robbo was wearing an expensive shirt, this guy grabs Robbo’s shirt, pops the buttons; Robbo feels as if his rights are being violated, mate gtf off me, the guy was getting all self-righteous and wanting to pull a citizen’s arrest, he wouldn’t let Robbo go, Robbo reacted like a scared animal, trying to escape with violence, freaked and headbutted him, resulting in a dumb punchy throw down; the big guy punched, and then Robbo punched, and they both felt awkward because they didn’t want to do it but thought they had to. A clumsy affray.
Guys on the street saw what happened, sided with the big guy.
Robbo twisted his ankle in the confusion, it was huge, swollen, he couldn’t walk; cops wouldn’t let him in the car, wanted to shame him and drag him out along the main strip of the road, because he couldn’t walk, dragged all the way to the copshop. Then they stripped him naked, in winter, cold, really bloody cold, white room, solitary, foot swelling; he tried to rest his swollen leg, they came in and kicked the chair away because “ARE YOU FUCKIN RELAXING MATE”, “YOU’RE DRUNK MATE” and then questioned him about his past, as soon as the biker thing came up it was all over, and Robbo and Davo and everyone else still think that they weren’t actually allowed to question him while he was intoxicated.
An older officer came in, saw Robbo’s ankle, said “Mate, with an injury like that, you shouldn’t have taken your shoe off. Doesn’t swell if you keep the shoe on”, and then left the room. Robbo was in that copshop for 6 hours. “If you want to complain about your treatment tonight, you’ll be here for double the amount of time.” And Robbo felt: BUT I’VE ALREADY BEEN NAKED ALONE IN THIS FUCKING CELL FOR SO LONG I JUST WANT TO GO HOME.

Robbo was released and did community service. But the cops don’t give a shit about time spent helping the community. Nowadays they see a bloke on the street on a bike around our place and they think it’s him, they hear about something going down and they think it’s his fault, just because he got picked up one time and he’s got Red Hair so he’s recognisable…

Davo and Robbo live together, and the police know Davo because the police know Robbo. They knock on the door of their house when something happens, and since these Biker Laws have come in the police come looking for Davo more because they are now legally allowed to assume association, because Robbo wears the patches of a MotorCycleClub and Davo lives with him and is old old mates with some other guys who wear MotorCycleClub patches, and he works with a few club members down near the edge of town in construction, it’s not a big town it can’t really be helped, and his old man has old friend-ties in a MotoCycleClub too, so Davo is always being followed or threatened by cops of all kinds in all vehicles, he’s “associated” so that means the cops can arrest him at the drop of a hat.

Davo knows it would be a lot worse if he was a BlackFella. He knows of too many mobs who have lost their sons and brothers and uncles in prison, and while his White mates have been beat up by cops in the Name of the Law, none of them have died, not like the Black Fellas. Davo doesn’t know what to do about it. No one knows what to do about it, and Davo thinks that maybe all the things he’s not being told about club meetings is something to do with figuring out what to do about it. He wishes the media would look at the cops more than they look at the old mates who ride motorbikes. They’re not doing anything more dangerous than showing the idiots what true freedom looks like. For those who do, no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t, no explanation is possible.

“Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.”